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Russia Furious Over Adopted Boy Sent Back From US

The country threatened to suspend adoptions by U.S. families after the seven-year-old was sent back to Moscow on a one-way flight.

By The Associated Press / April 10, 2010

The home of Torry Hansen, the adoptive mother of 7-year-old Artyom Savelyev, in Shelbyville, Tenn.

Josh Anderson/AP

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Moscow

Russia threatened to suspend all child adoptions by U.S. families Friday after a 7-year-old boy adopted by a woman from Tennessee was sent alone on a one-way flight back to Moscow with a note saying he was violent and had severe psychological problems.

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The boy, Artyom Savelyev, was put on a plane by his adopted grandmother, Nancy Hansen of Shelbyville.

"He drew a picture of our house burning down and he'll tell anybody that he's going to burn our house down with us in it," she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "It got to be where you feared for your safety. It was terrible."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the actions by the grandmother "the last straw" in a string of U.S. adoptions gone wrong, including three in which Russian children had died in the U.S.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, Dmitry Medvedev said the boy "fell into a very bad family."

"It is a monstrous deed on the part of his adoptive parents, to take the kid and virtually throw him out with the airplane in the opposite direction and to say, 'I'm sorry I could not cope with it, take everything back' is not only immoral but also against the law," Medvedev said.

The cases have prompted outrage in Russia, where foreign adoption failures are reported prominently. Russian main TV networks ran extensive reports on the latest incident in their main evening news shows.

The Russian education ministry immediately suspended the license of the group involved in the adoption - the World Association for Children and Parents, a Renton, Washington-based agency - for the duration of an investigation. In Tennessee, authorities were investigating the adoptive mother, Torry Hansen, 33.

Any possible freeze could affect hundreds of American families. Last year, nearly 1,600 Russian children were adopted in the United States, and more than 60,000 Russian orphans have been successfully adopted there, according to the National Council For Adoption, a U.S. adoption advocacy nonprofit group.

"We're obviously very troubled by it," U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in Washington when asked about the boy's case. He told reporters the U.S. and Russia share a responsibility for the child's safety and Washington will work closely with Moscow to make sure adoptions are legal and appropriately monitored.

Asked if he thought a suspension by Russia was warranted, Crowley said, "If Russia does suspend cooperation on the adoption, that is its right. These are Russian citizens."

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